novelist, born in Cornwall and educated at Oxford University. He is the author of a trilogy of short novels, Never Mind (1992), Bad News (1992), and Some Hope (1994): the first describes with horrific conviction the indulged but appalling childhood of Patrick Melrose, sexually abused by his father on holiday in the 1960s; the two latter volumes follow Patrick to New York (where his father lies dead in a funeral parlour) and back to London, as he struggles to cope with his drug addiction and his grim paternal legacy. Sharp, understated, and stylish, they counteract the baroque nature of much ‘chemical generation’ writing associated with Irvine Welsh and Alan Warner. On the Edge (1998) is a journey through the New Age cults of the 1990s, from Findhorn to California. Mother's Milk (2006) takes up the story of Patrick Melrose through the child's‐eye viewpoint of his son Robert, and pursues in taut and distinctive prose an unsparing exposure of English upper middle class family life and American culture.